Exhibition explores what country could spend with $3.69 billion military funding

Golden Bay Peace Group member, Paddy Brennan, holds an artwork by Collingwood Area School student, Holly Rillstone.
NINA HINDMARSH/ STUFF

Golden Bay Peace Group member, Paddy Brennan, holds an artwork by Collingwood Area School student, Holly Rillstone.

"How would you spend $3.69 billion?"

That's the question being asked by the Golden Bay Peace Group in its latest exhibition at the Art Bank in Takaka.

Ministry of Peace explores that pertinent question in depth with artworks, photos, a short film and contributions from the Golden Bay community.

Golden Bay Peace Group members, clockwise from top left: Peni Connolly; Rachel Rabbits; Carolyn Simon; Helen Kingston ...
NINA HINDMARSH

Golden Bay Peace Group members, clockwise from top left: Peni Connolly; Rachel Rabbits; Carolyn Simon; Helen Kingston and Paddy Brennan.

The question of what could be spent with $3.69 billion was raised to the community — a figure currently being spent on military funding by the New Zealand government.

Peace Group member Peni Connolly said it recently announced a further $20 billion over the next 15 years.

"We propose diverting this money into a 'Ministry of Peace' to fund purposeful peacemaking – health, housing, education, justice, safer families and climate change mitigation are all peace issues,' she said.

"War is such a waste of our resources; it traumatises our troops. We are not against the boys and girls that go and fight, it's the ideology of militarism that we don't agree with."

The aim of the exhibition was to show that killing people to show people that killing people is wrong was "illogical", Connolly said.

"Violence in New Zealand is illegal — it is a crime to hit and to kill. For the past decade, Our government has led a campaign that rightly states 'Domestic Violence is Not OK', yet, our armed forces can go abroad, be it Afghanistan or Iraq, and kill other people and their families."

Connolly said the other aim was to inform people that "war doesn't work".

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"Contemporary research looking at the wars over the last 106 years shows that when comparing nonviolent resistance with violent resistance, non violent resistance has a 46 per cent chance of being successful compared with a 20 per cent success rate of war and violent uprisings."

There were "fabulous contributions" from students from Collingwood Area School and Motupipi, she said. 

"I feel inspired and filled with hope that these young one's aren't going to go off to war and fight. They have been bought up with lovely schooling and these children are being respected by their teachers. The teachers mimic how we should behave nationally and internationally."

She said community voice had showed strong concerns for issues around not spending enough on homelessness and housing, poverty and climate change.

  • Ministry of Peace: Monday July 31 - August 5, Art Bank, Takaka.

 - Stuff.co.nz

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